NFL Notes: Ezekiel Elliott Drops Appeal, Will Serve Rest of Suspension

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has dropped his appeal with five games remaining on his six-game suspension over alleged domestic violence.

Elliott's agents said Wednesday the decision by last year's NFL rushing leader "is in no way an admission of wrongdoing." They said Elliott's decision came from "a practical assessment of the current legal landscape."

Elliott had a hearing set in a federal appeals court on Dec. 1, four games into the suspension.

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He served the first game in Dallas' 27-7 loss to Atlanta last weekend. By accepting the six games, Elliott is eligible to return for the final two games: Dec. 24 at home against Seattle and Dec. 31 at Philadelphia.

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors in Ohio didn't pursue the case. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal (see full story).

Bills: QB Taylor benched in favor of rookie
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Rather than continue watching a pedestrian offense muddle through a third consecutive game, Bills coach Sean McDermott sent his team a jolt by making an abrupt change at quarterback.

Tyrod Taylor was benched Wednesday and rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman will make his first career start on Sunday, when Buffalo (5-4) plays at the Los Angeles Chargers (3-6).

McDermott acknowledged taking a "calculated risk" in making the switch at a time when the Bills have a winning record. They sit sixth in the AFC standings, and control their own destiny in a bid to end a 17-season playoff drought -- the longest active streak in North America's four major professional sports.

"This is about becoming better as a football team," he said. "As a decision maker, you have to be able to or willing to take calculated risks to get to where we're trying to go. And I'm comfortable doing that," (see full story).

Browns: Team upset with comments by Gipson
BEREA, Ohio -- Several Cleveland players feel disrespected by Jacksonville safety Tashaun Gipson's harsh comments about the Browns.

Gipson was a Pro Bowler with the Browns before the team chose not to re-sign him as a free agent after the 2015 season.

Earlier this week, Gipson took some swipes at Cleveland's front office for letting him leave, predicted the Jaguars will score 40 points this Sunday against the NFL's only winless team and believes the Browns will "probably go 0-16."

Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey said Gipson is only trying to "rile up" his teammates, but that his words have provided some extra motivation. Kirksey and Gipson are close friends.

Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer said he's looking forward to "prove him wrong with those comments."

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said he addressed Gipson's comments with his team and that the safety will not be disciplined (see full story).

Vikings: Sticking with Keenum at QB
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Case Keenum will start again at quarterback this week for the Minnesota Vikings.

This time he'll face his former team, the Los Angeles Rams.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer announced Wednesday that Keenum will keep his place running an offense that produced a season-high 38 points in the previous game at Washington. The Vikings host the Rams Sunday.

With Teddy Bridgewater back on the active roster, he's widely expected to take over sooner than later. The Vikings have won five straight games with some strong performances by Keenum, though, so a change now would be strange.

Keenum has started five and finished six of the team's seven victories this season, relieving Sam Bradford because of knee trouble. Bridgewater has not played in a non-preseason game in more than 22 months.

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